Key Considerations When Insuring Your New Camera
If you’ve just spent your hard-earned money purchasing a new camera, you are no doubt excited to get it out of its packaging and begin experimenting with all it has to offer. Maybe you have also purchased some camera cleaning accessories and a camera case to keep it in preen condition and to minimise the risk of it being damaged. But have you considered what your options could be when it comes to financially protecting your new purchase?
The nature of a camera, being portable and frequently used outside the home, along with its often- high dollar value, leave you with a few options when it comes to insuring it. Each option has its pros and cons, so be sure to research each policy you’re considering and read the fine print before you make your decision.
To help you find the right insurance policy for your camera, we’ve teamed up with the insurance experts at Canstar, Australia’s largest financial comparison site. From portable contents insurance to camera travel insurance, read on to learn which type of insurance could be right for you.
What insurance is available for my camera?
Contents insurance is available for both homeowners and renters, either on its own or as part of a combined home and contents policy. It is designed to provide a level of financial protection against damage, theft or loss of the personal possessions inside your home, which could include your new camera.
Some contents insurance policies may only cover your possessions if they are lost through a defined event, such as burglary or fire, while others may also provide cover for loss as a result of an accidental event, such as dropping it on the floor, although this may be more expensive. There are typically two main types of contents insurance – a “replacement value” policy that covers the current dollar value of your belongings, and one that offers “new for old” replacement, meaning it covers the cost of replacing your items with a new model, if necessary.
When you purchase a policy to insure your contents, you’ll typically be asked to nominate a total dollar value that you’d like to be insured. To do this, you’ll need a complete list of the items you wish to have covered, including your camera, and what they may cost. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has a calculator you can use to help determine the value of your contents.
It can also be a good idea to keep receipts and take photos of your belongings, especially for valuable items like your camera, to help you can prove ownership and value should you need to make a claim.
You will also need to consider the excess amounts attached to a particular contents policy and factor this into your calculations when deciding which policy will suit your needs and budget. The excess is the amount you contribute towards the cost of your claim, and depending on the policy you choose, there may be multiple excesses that apply.
Keep in mind that some content policies may also place a limit on how much you can claim for certain valuable items, such as cameras. For example, if your policy has a $500 limit for a camera, and you lose your camera worth $3,000, you could be left $2,500 out of pocket if you need to claim for a replacement (plus any excess if applicable). To avoid a situation like this, it could be worth considering listing your camera (or other valuable items) individually on a contents policy, so these items can be covered for their full amount. Specifying items for extra cover may mean you have to pay an additional premium, so check with your insurer if you have any questions about this. If you do specify your camera you will need to settle on a suitable replacement value, which may also include the value of your accessories too, such as lenses, flashes, tripods and camera bags.
Portable contents insurance
Portable items, like a camera, may not automatically be covered under your contents policy, so it is a good idea to ask your insurer directly whether your camera will be covered when you take it out of the house. If cover is not included, you may be able to add portable contents cover to your policy for a higher premium.
There are usually two types of portable contents cover – listed and unlisted (also known as unspecified and specified). Unlisted cover typically enables you to choose from available payout limits per item and the total amount that can be claimed under your policy, without having to list items individually. Listed cover is where you may be able to insure certain items, like your camera, for their full value by listing them individually. Portable contents policies typically cover you for loss or damage incurred anywhere within Australia or New Zealand, although some will also provide cover if you are overseas (in countries other than New Zealand) for short periods. Be mindful that adding portable contents insurance may increase the cost of your policy.
If you are planning a trip within Australia or overseas, your new camera is probably one of the items at the top of your packing list.
Your first port of call could be checking whether the potential loss of or damage to your camera while you’re travelling will be covered under your contents or portable contents insurance policy. If not, then travel insurance may be an option. Most basic travel insurance policies include a level of financial cover for damage, theft or loss of your personal belongings, including your camera, although there may be sub-limits for specific item categories, as with contents insurance. If the cover on your policy isn’t enough to replace your camera, you could check if there’s an option to add it as a specified item for an additional fee.
Specialised camera insurance
There are also specialised camera insurance policies available from certain providers. This can potentially be a good option for professional photographers, as they may be able to purchase a policy that covers not only the value of their camera and accessories, but also for image recovery and public liability. These policies may have tailored repair and replacement options and higher limits for claiming than standard contents or travel insurance products, often in return for higher premiums.
If you use your camera for work, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) suggests you may be able to claim the insurance premiums as a tax deduction. According to the ATO, if you pay for the insurance yourself (you’re not reimbursed by an employer), it’s directly related to earning your income and you have a record or proof of purchase, your camera may be considered a work-related expense. Because of this, it could be a good idea to keep your receipts and paperwork and check with your accountant or contact the ATO to find out more.
What are some common exclusions to look out for?
The exclusions on insurance claims should your camera become damaged, lost, or stolen may vary depending on the policy you choose, and so it is a good idea to read the product disclosure statement of any product you are considering or ask the insurer directly. However, there are a number of common exclusions to keep in mind, such as general wear and tear or mechanical failure of your camera (although it’s a good idea to hang on to any warranty documents in this instance). Insurers may also exclude accidents where it was deemed you were not taking adequate care of your camera or camera accessories (such as if you leave your camera unattended in a public area and it gets stolen or damaged). You may want to check if your contents policy provides cover for damage caused by floods, fire or animals. If you’re travelling, you may want to check whether there are any exclusions around engaging in high-risk activities (such as riding a scooter or participating in snow sports), or if you’re travelling against official government advice. It may also be worth checking if you can choose your own camera repairer, as some insurers will have their own repairers they prefer to use.
As with all types of insurance, it’s a good idea to shop around to find a policy that fits within your budget and offers the benefits you need. Make sure you read the PDS of any policy you are considering and contact the insurer directly if you have any questions.
Camera insurance can give you peace of mind
Whether you love high-risk, high-reward adventure photography, are taking your camera overseas, or simply want the best possible protection for everyday use, camera insurance is always a good idea. Life doesn’t always go according to plan, and the right policy will keep you covered in the case of any misadventure, making it well worth the investment.
Once you’ve sorted out insurance for your camera, it’s time to take it on tour. For top tips on traveling with your camera, refer to this guide.
About Josh Sale
Josh Sale is a Ratings Manager at Canstar, responsible for the continued methodology development and delivery of Canstar’s flagship Star Ratings. Josh has tertiary qualifications in economics and finance, and spends his days leading a team to transform millions of rows of calculations into consumer-friendly Star Ratings.
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